Ariets Research Blog

March 3, 2009

Y-DNA of the tsar Nicholas II

Filed under: -Slavs, Genetics — Ariets @ 12:05 am

Here something that I’ve found originally at Dienekes Pontikos blog.

The Y-chromosome haplotype of the Tsar appears to belong to haplogroup R1b. Interestingly, they were able to get the Tsar’s DNA from a bloodstained shirt:

In 1890–1891 Nicholas II, then-heir to the throne was on an around-the-world voyage. On 11 May 1891, during his visit to Osaka, Japan, he was attacked and injured in an apparent assassination attempt. The escort policemen swung at Nicholas II’s head with a saber; however the following blow was parried by Prince George of Greece and Denmark who was accompanying Nicholas II. Although the wound was not life-threatening, Nicholas II was severely bleeding and a long scar remained on the right side of his forehead.

nicholasiiInterestingly (not mentioned in the article), Nicholas II and his savior Prince George shared patrilineal ancestry, as they were both descended from Frederick I of Denmark. Thus, it seems (barring any “accident”) that the dynasty founded by King George I of the Hellenes would also belong in haplogroup R1b.
In this paper, they were able to test descendants of Nicholas I of Russia, so the line appears to be secure at least that far in the past.

The supporting information is online. The mtDNA of the Tsarina Alexandra and the children (“Queen Victoria type”) is:

16111T 16357C 16519C

and of the Tsar:

16126C 16294T 16296T 16519C with either 16169C or 16169T

I will look up the haplogroup prediction when I have time, but feel free to post in the comments.

PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.0811190106

Genomic identification in the historical case of the Nicholas II royal family

Evgeny I. Rogaev et al.


Accurate unambiguous identification of ancient or historical specimens can potentially be achieved by DNA analysis. The controversy surrounding the fate of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, and his family has persisted, in part, because the bodies of 2 children, Prince Alexei and 1 of his sisters, have not been found. A grave discovered in 1991 contained remains putatively identified as those of the Russian Royal family. However, not all family members were represented. Here, we report the results of genomic analyses of new specimens, the human remains of 2 burned skeletons exhumed from a grave discovered in July 2007, and the results of a comprehensive genomic analysis of remains from the 1991 discovery. Additionally, ≈117 years old archival blood specimens from Nicholas II were obtained and genotyped, which provided critical material for the specific determination of individual identities and kinship identifications. Results of genotypic analyses of damaged historical specimens were evaluated alongside samples from descendants of both paternal and maternal lineages of the European Royal families, and the results conclusively demonstrate that the recently found remains belong to children of Nicholas II: Prince Alexei and his sister. The results of our studies provide unequivocal evidence that the remains of Nicholas II and his entire family, including all 5 children, have been identified. We demonstrate that convergent analysis of complete mitochondrial genome sequences combined with nuclear DNA profiles is an efficient and conclusive method for individual and kinship identification of specimens obtained from old historic relics.


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